Film Director Fatih Akin Violence and Emotion on the Cutting Edge of Reality
Fatih Akin's films revolve around the clash of different cultures and they transcend borders – not just geographically. With their impetuous energy, they achieve a great truthfulness.
Ten years after Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven), Fatih Akin once again celebrated the world premiere of one of his films at the Cannes International Film Festival. While Diane Kruger was awarded Best Actress for her leading role in the Neo-nazi terror drama, the film was not able to bring the prestigious prize home. It went to his Swedish collegue Ruben Östlund for The Square. But nevertheless, Akin is one of the few German directors whose films were nominated for the Golden Palm in the international competition.
Aus dem Nichts (In The Fade) is about a young mother who loses her husband of Turkish origin and her son in a bomb attack. The investigations focus on a young neo-Nazi couple, but the mother, who is played by Diane Kruger in her first German-speaking film, wants to get to the bottom of the tragedy herself. It is all about truth and justice, “both in the constitutional and in the moral sense”, as Akin stated in an interview with the Tagespiegel newspaper, and about showing how “contradictory and flexible” these concepts can be. This is the second time, after the screen adaptation Tschick (Goodbye Berlin) in 2016, that Akin has worked with the director and screenplay author, Hark Bohm. Bohm is also a lawyer, that is why he was able to ensure factual correctness in the depiction of the court proceedings.
The beat of the problem “hood”Like almost all the films Fatih Akin has made since his raging debut, Kurz and Schmerzlos (Short Sharp Shock) in 1998, Aus dem Nichts (In The Fade) is also about what happens when different cultures collide. It is also the underlying theme in the life of this director who grew up as the son of Turkish immigrants in Hamburg. Born on August 25, 1973, he grew up in a problem “hood” teeming with violent youth gangs – it was this volatile milieu that has spawned the impetuous energy of his films. Akin began his career in films as an actor. He soon got fed up, however, with being typecast in roles as a Turkish criminal, so he started to write scripts. Inspired by Martin Scorsese films like Taxi Driver or Mean Streets, he soon realised he had enough material as a young man in his own environment to write similar stories. Since that time his films have consistently lived from his own observations and personal experiences. In this way, they achieve an authentic and immediate truthfulness – a truthfulness that hit the German cinema of the late nineties and early noughties with full fury.
reconciliation rather than confrontationImpulsive, raw and wild - these are the words to describe the first films of this self-taught director, who is equally as well versed in the direct reality of life as he is in film history. His first great masterpiece, Gegen die Wand (Head-On) in 2004, tells the story of the urge for freedom of a German-Turkish woman, Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), and how her needs collide with the traditions of her strict Turkish family. She enters into a marriage with a much older, mentally and physically broken alcoholic, Cahit (Birol Ünel), but from their relationship a force emerges that brings salvation for them both. From the interaction between Germany and Turkey, new perspectives are constantly emerging in Akin's films. Instead of confrontation between religions and nationalities, he aims at bringing people together and reconciliation.
Gegen die Wand (Head-On), in 2004, was the first part of his “Love, Death and the Devil” trilogy, which Akin then followed in a new, thoughtfully mellow tone in 2006 with Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven). Six people wander between two worlds, between Germany and Turkey, between life and death, and despite tragic events and deadly confrontations they somehow manage to find each other. It is not only a coming together of the Muslim and Christian worlds, but also of the Turkish acting legend, Tuncel Kurtiz, from the films of Yilmaz Güney, and the German Rainer Werner-Fassbinder star, Hanna Schygulla. The crossover, i.e. the penetrating of different areas, is to be found throughout Akin’s entire approach to filmmaking. This also applies to the film music, which from the very beginning plays a special role as a an impulse and mood generator, and whose lyrics also promote and enhance the storyline. An enormous rhythmic, sensual and narrative force develops. By merging different musical genres like Punk and Turkish folklore, the score also contributes subtly to the breaking down of borders.